Pete Seeger dies at 94
Folk singer and political and environmental activist Pete Seeger has died at a hospital in New York City at age 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, says Seeger died on Monday night after being hospitalized for six days. Seeger was the son of Juilliard School of Music teachers — his father was an ethnomusicologist and his mother a violinist. He dropped out of Harvard University in 1938 and took his banjo on the road. Seeger and Woody Guthrie started the Almanac Singers in the early 1940s and in 1948 he helped form the quartet The Weavers. He helped create the modern American folk music movement and continued to perform and record music for the next six decades. However, his politics got him blacklisted in the 1950s and he was kept off US television for more than a decade. He was still an activist as recently as October 2011 when he marched in New York as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests. He co-wrote such song as If I Had a Hammer, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and Turn! Turn! Turn! He was a founder of Clearwater, a group to clean up the Hudson River in New York state, and also wrote children’s books. His wife, Toshi Seeger, who he married in 1941, died last year.
Paintings to be auctioned
Four Old Masters stolen by the Nazis, including reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, go under the hammer in New York this week where they are expected to fetch up to US$1 million, Sotheby’s said on Monday. The paintings looted after the 1940 fall of France were returned to their owners in 1946 by the Monuments Men, the allied organization responsible for protecting treasures during World War II. Sotheby’s said two of the works still bear scrawls from the Nazis that document their stolen origin. Under the hammer as a single lot valued at US$300,000 to US$500,000 are a pair of paintings by 18th-century French painter Jean-Baptiste Pater that were pilfered for Goering’s private collection from the French branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty after the fall of France in 1940. For US$150,000 to US$200,000 Sotheby’s is offering a 15th-century panel, Triumph of Marcus Furius Camillus by Apollonio di Giovanni, also stolen from the French Rothschilds. The fourth painting is a view of Venice by 18th-century painter Francesco Guardi, valued at US$200,000 to US$300,000.
Police hunt for papal relic
Police are searching a mountain area beloved by former pope John Paul II for a stolen relic bearing his blood. Vatican Radio has decried the “sacrilegious theft” from tiny San Pietro della Ienca church near the Gran Sasso part of the Apennine Mountains, where John Paul used to hike and ski. Carabinieri Colonel Andrea Ronchey in nearby L’Aquila said on Monday that the relic — a bit of blood-soaked cloth kept inside a painted metal cross — was last seen on Thursday last week before the church was closed because of a snowstorm. The cloth, which reportedly comes from the robe the pontiff was wearing when he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981, is enclosed in a gold and glass circular case. The framed cloth was given to the small church in 2011 by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as John Paul II’s personal secretary until his death in 2005. John Paul had celebrated Mass in the church. The former pope is to be named a saint during a Vatican ceremony on April 27, along with pope John XXIII.